Jordan deploys for the first time Leclerc main battle tanks during military exercise

According to a Tweet published on the Twitter account of Nashab on October 19, 2020, the Jordanian army has deployed for the first time Leclerc Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) donated by the UAE (United Arab Emirates) during the military exercise Salah al-Din Citadel.
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King of Jordan Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein at the front of Jordanian Leclerc MBT Main Battle Tank during military exercise Salah al-Din Citadel. (Picture source Nashab Twitter account)

On September 16, 2020, Army Recognition has announced that United Arab Emirates (UAE) has donated 80 Leclerc Main Battle Tanks to Jordanian armed forces. This number should allow Jordan to equip two of the four tank battalions belonging to its 3rd Armored Division. This large unit is in fact made up of two brigades: the first one – the 40th Armored Brigade (King Hussein) – comprises the 2nd Tank Battalion (Royal Tank Battalion) and the 4th Tank Battalion (Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein); the second brigade – the 60th Armored Brigade (Prince Hassan) – comprises the 3rd Royal Tank Battalion and the 5th Royal Tank Battalion.

The Jordanian army continues to modernize its armed forces with second-hand combat vehicles manufactured by the European defense industry including the Italian Centauro 8x8 wheeled 105mm tank support vehicle, Marder 1A3 tracked armored IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicle) from Germany, and now the Leclerc MBT manufactured by the French company Nexter Systems.

In 1993 the United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi) selected the Giat Industries Leclerc MBT and placed an order for a total of 436 vehicles for delivery from 1994. In 2003, France's Giat Industries has agreed to upgrade hundreds of Leclerc tanks it has supplied to the UAE within a $4 billion deal signed 10 years ago.

In early 2011, Nexter signed an agreement with the International Golden Group to supply Azur up-armour kits for the Leclerc MBTs of the UAE Armed Forces. This new upgrade consists of additional protection in the form of side skirts of composite material, bar armor on the rear of hull and turret to protect against rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), and extra protection for the engine against petrol bombs. The UAE Leclerc has also been fitted with a remotely controlled weapon station armed with one 7.62mm machine gun.

In 2016, the German company Dynamit Nobel Defence was contracted by the military of the UAE to provide reactive armor kits called CLARA for more than 200 Leclerc MBTs. CLARA/HL-Schutz Rad/Kette has been claimed to provide more than ten times as much protection as "conventional armor" against shaped charge warheads as found on rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs).

The first Leclerc MBT was completed by Giat Industries in December 1991 and handed over to the French Army on 14 January 1992. The Leclerc incorporates the most modern technologies to reach a high level in terms of mobility, firepower, and protection. The weapon system integrates the latest generation of optimized fire computer equipment to provide very great effectiveness in the duel against the entire adversary armored tank in all weather conditions during night and day at a maximum effective range of 3,000 m.

The layout of the French-made main battle tank Leclerc is conventional with the driver sitting at the front left of the hull, the turret in the center, and the power pack at the rear. The Leclerc has a crew of three, driver, gunner on the right of the turret, and the commander on the left.

The main armament of the Leclerc is a GIAT (Nexter) CN120-26 120mm smoothbore cannon which has a chamber the same size as that of the 120 mm smoothbore gun fitted to the Leopard 2, M1A1, and M1A2. The turret is equipped with an automatic loader that contains 22 rounds of ready-use ammunition normally loaded from outside through a small hatch in the back of the turret bustle. With this system, the tank can fire at a rate of 10 to 12 rds./min.

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